Woah hey, what’s so weird about Providence?
Well, it’s probably the fact that we’re the hometown of H.P. Lovecraft. He was a prolific writer from the early 20th century, known for his works in weird fiction, scifi, and horror. He got his start in pulp fiction, cheaply printed magazines where various authors contributed their writing. Like many artists, he was unsuccessful in life. But after his passing, his fellow writers hyped him up, and kept the legacy going.
The man himself, H.P. Lovecraft.
Howard Philips Lovecraft was born in 1890, and his writing career was active from 1917 to his death in 1937. After he married his wife, he moved to New York and found himself in the Kalem Club of writers, which evolved into the Lovecraft Circle. However, New York has always been expensive, and Lovecraft made next to nothing off his writings. So in 1926, he returned to Providence. This is where he wrote some of his most famous work, such as The Call of Cthulhu, At the Mountains of Madness, and The Shadow over Innsmouth. He continued writing until 1937, where he passed away due to intestinal cancer.
But what’s a Cthulhu?
That’s where this gets fun. Lovecraft was known for writing some weird stuff. Like Cthulhu! Cthulhu is one of the “Great Old Ones” of Lovecraft’s own mythology he built up. In The Call of Cthulhu, he was a god from before humanity even existed, and there have been small cults throughout history worshipping him waiting for his return. The story revolves around the discovery and awakening of Cthulhu, in the lost city of R’lyeh.
Cthulhu is depicted as a mix of an octopus and a dragon. That's where the tentacles come from!
Now I won’t spoil the fun for you. Read some of his work. Get spooky! I recommend The Call of Cthulhu, The Shadow over Innsmouth, and The Silver Key.
He has influenced many, MANY contemporary writers, artists, game designers, directors, you name it!
King's "The Dark Tower" Series is known for having a vast world and mythos.
Stephen King is a huge Lovecraft fan. His large, interconnected world of books and creatures should remind you of the large cosmology that Lovecraft created. This is called the Cthulhu Mythos, and is a collection of both Lovecraft’s original works, and contemporary continuations of his writing. While Stephen King has his own legacy and reputation, he is still connected to his previous horror writers.
Coraline has probably been many children's first venture into horror.
Another contemporary writer inspired by Lovecraft is Neil Gaiman. I read The Graveyard Book when I was young, and ever since then I’ve been enamored by Gaiman’s macabre themes. Remember Coraline? Yeah, also by Neil Gaiman. All of Gaiman’s weird beings beyond death, in our dreams, and outside of Earth are inspired just a bit by Lovecraft. I mean, the Other Mother? A demon that preys on children’s desire for a better life under the guise of their mother? Now that, that is fantastically terrifying.
One of the covers for Uzumaki, a manga series inspired by Lovecraft.
Even the Japanese are big on Lovecraft! Junji Ito is a famous horror manga artist that takes inspiration from the surrealness of Lovecraft’s work. His most famous work, Uzumaki, is about a town haunted by the pattern of a spiral. It’s also being adapted into an anime by Adult Swim. Chiaki J. Konaka is another notable writer, who has written his own Cthulhu Mythos stories, but is also the mind behind Serial Experiments Lain, and Digimon Tamers.
Lain Iwakura is a middle schooler who discovers the wonderful world of computers. And the terrifying truth behind them.
Who's an artist inspired by Lovecraft? Yours truly, Jude Bigboy. I like to depict myself as a "human Cthulhu" in some of my comics. Instead of Jude, I'm J'Glocht, a nervous wreck of an eldritch god sent to earth to chill with the humans.
Woah hey, is that me? You bet it is.
That’s all I’ve got to say on H.P. Lovecraft for now. But trust me, there’s way more than this single blog post. Do some reading and you’ll find some weird things that you will hold near and dear to your mortal heart. Now that you know about the spookier side of our city, maybe you'll want to keep it a little wacky?
(Note: We are aware of Lovecraft’s racist views, and we do not condone of them. However, many artists are able to find inspiration from his work but still make their own unique product separated from his views. Nothing we sell promotes racist organizations, and all proceeds go towards our artists and keeping the store running.)